Last month, my brother, Voltaire Xodus and I celebrated the 10th anniversary of our beloved mother, Adelaide Smith’s transition (March 6, 1950 – September 26, 2012).
To honor her life and legacy, we attended Aida (her favorite Opera) at the LA Opera in Los Angeles earlier this year. As a young woman, Adelaide initially studied classical voice at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Massachusetts. She had hopes of one day becoming a professional opera singer but Adelaide was unable to finish her degree due to economic hardship.
For those who might be unfamiliar with her story, Adelaide was a visionary, faith-filled, fearless entrepreneur and single mother raising two kids in Southern California on less than $14,000 a year. Education was very important to her. She earned her associate’s degree in her 40s at Victor Valley College, then her BA in Chicago at DePaul University in her 50s, and then moved to the Big Apple to pursue her MBA at MCNY.
Years later, while experiencing homelessness, financial insecurity, and congestive heart failure, Adelaide graduated with a degree in Media Management from MCNY in 2011, as one of the “most mature” students in her class at 61, a year before she passed of a heart attack.
With money or no money, our mom lived her life to the fullest, even until her last day. During an afternoon outing in September 2012, while she was eating ice cream and on her way to an outdoor music festival with a friend, her heart gave out when they were on a bus in Brooklyn.
What a way to go! Our mother was a woman who put God first and pursued her dreams by faith and did not let anything or anyone stop her. Her mantra, “See beyond your circumstances by staying focused on your goals” lives on.
Adelaide Smith was many things in addition to being an amazing mom, she was…
An Entrepreneur, Innovator and Visionary
An Opera Singer
A Leader and Trailblazer
A Butcher and A Baker
A Prayer Warrior and Walking on Water Woman
A Conversationalist, Dealmaker and Connector
A Teacher and a Preacher
An MBA Graduate at 60+
A Friend, Loving Sister and a Fierce Advocate for Her Children and her Community
We share her story to encourage others to do the same. It is never too late to go to college or back to school to pursue a degree and go after what your heart desires.
Her strength, courage, and wisdom are an inspiration. To keep our Mother’s memory alive and ensure other students can finish their degrees, we have established an MCNY scholarship fund in her name, The Adelaide Smith MBA ’11 Scholarship Fund.
We invite MCNY alumni and friends to help us reach our goal to raise $5,000 each year for the next 5 years. As a token of appreciation, we will give all donors a signed copy of an e-book of her quotes and wisdom called Addie Said.
RIP Adelaide Louise Smith, Media Management MBA ’11
(March 6, 1950 – September 26, 2012)
The author, Ramona Wright and her brother Voltaire Xodus are Co-Founders of the tech start-up WeUp, a goal achievement platform that rewards people to achieve goals and solve social problems. In 2018, they launched the WeUp Women tour and presented various women around the world with awards named in honor of their late mother Adelaide Smith, MBA ’11. Learn more about their journey and the app at www.weuptheworld.com and follow @weuptheworld.